It's #FloridaBeerFriday, when we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft-beer movement of Florida.
Ah, the session IPA. Much debate has sprung up in the beer world about this relatively new beer style. Is it really a pale ale? Is it really just an IPA? Does it even really matter?
See also: Florida Beer: Miami Winter Ale From Miami Brewing Company
This week, we're taking a look at Funky Buddha Brewery's popular Crusher Single Hop Session IPA, with a nod toward Saturday's Maple Bacon Coffee Porter festival. We thought it would be interesting to seek out one of their most straightforward beers before subjecting ourselves to the onslaught of flavors that will be had this weekend.
Buddha's session IPA is a 4.3 percent alcohol-by-volume pale beer brewed with two-row barley and a touch of caramel malt (both for color and some complexity), combined with a ton of late-addition hops. These hops will all come from the same varietal, so an all Simcoe batch, for instance, with the beer designed to showcase the different flavors that a single hop can give to a beer through different stages of bittering additions. Basically, it's a stage that allows the flower to shine for the hop connoisseur.
With a different hop used every two months, it's a beer that the boys in Oakland Park can experiment with to their hearts' content.
Crusher is a pale clear golden color, not unlike any number of pale ales or marzen lagers. The aroma catches your senses with big tropical-fruit hops. Lots of hop aroma. Outside a mildly flavorful front end, it moves into a big, light-bodied middle with little going on but finishes with some lingering dankness at the end. Without a bigger malt body, this can be solidly classified as a "session IPA."
Though many will prefer a heftier IPA to get that massive hop bomb, Crusher is a sensible alternative during lunch away from the office or on a warm afternoon. Think of it as the American version of an English bitter.
Crusher Single Hop Session IPA is generally found at Funky Buddha Brewery's taproom and periodically out in the market at local restaurants and better bars.
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Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.